Post Election 2010 Roundup
Blue Dogs Feel The Pain
Naturally the tea party and the GOP both are seizing upon this "historic" election as a political mandate. I would argue that they wouldn't know a political mandate if it hit them in the head. Which happened in 2008. The very fact that the Democrat "Blue Dogs" paid the highest price while we only lost four staunchly liberal democrats clearly shows that this was not the mandate Rand Paul thinks he has.
Karen Dolan argues that rather than a real trouncing, what Dems got was a purging of those too conservative. Be ye hot or be ye cold, but none of this lukewarm BS is what the people said November 2nd.
Most of the good news comes from California, Delaware, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Vermont and Nevada where hate seems to have been momentarily defeated, albeit narrowly in most places but defeated nevertheless. Particularly interesting is Nevada where Latino voters are credited with pulling Harry Reid’s chess-nuts from the tea party's bonfire. Latino's voted for Harry Reid at a rate of 68% as opposed to 30% for Sharon Angle. It is uncertain whether the tea party is even capable of learning this lesson.
In California, Dems won big time. You should ask your republican friends (if you still have any) how that happened in this "historic" election. This is a midterm and traditionally they don’t do as well on the turnout dept. However, one can see what happens when the youth vote does turn out. In proposition 19 going to the vote, we see that 46% of Californians support legalization of Marijuana (53% said no to 19). Youth came out to vote in this particular California election cycle partially because of this historic vote on the legalization of Marijuana. Historic because for the first time, people are talking about this issue properly, as a civil rights issue.
Though there are people that suggest that pot smoking moms and dads that already feel safe enough and would rather not have their children exposed to a "seedy" subculture of drug use actually voted against prop 19. We shall see. In 2012 the dynamics of the election will be such that youth may have more to do with Marijuana being legalized than their parents. Not surprising at all actually. They are dead wrong since the only way you're safe is if you're white. Again, not so surprising that Yuppie moms and dads don't get it. Latino's and Blacks do however, and next cycle our message will be tighter and more youth as well as Latino's and Blacks will be getting to the polls in 2012.
Marijuana prohibition is only now beginning to be recognized among progressives (at least in California) as a civil rights issue since blacks and latino’s pay disproportionately high prices for marijuana “crimes”. Supporters of Proposition 19 include the ACLU, NAACP, the National Black Police Association, the Teamsters, SEIU and many more. Norm Stamper, former police chief of Seattle became a marijuana reformer and was asked to write the forward of a book called "Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving Our Young People To Drink?". He says that he likes to ask other law enforcement personnel when the last time it was they had to subdue a violent marijuana user. They usually answer never. He then asks them when was the last time you had to subdue a violent alcohol user and they're looking at their watches.
The Proposition 19 ballot initiative has placed this issue in the mainstream permanently. Nate Silver of fivethiryeight.com said at one time that he predicts the nation could legalize marijuana by 2016. Critics said that Richard Lee and George Soros were jumping the gun and taking this to the voters too early on this issue. To some progressives this was perhaps the biggest gain of 2010 and even in it’s loss the bright light of election 2010. The youth vote will be out in strength in 2012 and if 2010 is any indication of how they’ll vote, they went against the GOP at a rate of 58 to 39 percent, we will be winning in a wave of Democrats next cycle.
Finally, Paul Armentano provides a good post election analysis of Prop 19's narrow failure here
For those interested in following this particular issue there are a number of reputable web sites to choose your news.
Just five years ago more than half these sites didn't exist.
Proposition 23 was perhaps the brightest light by showing that Texas billionaires couldn’t buy California elections. Perhaps the biggest win was proving that cynical politics won’t be tolerated and that unlimited money might actually have a downside. People in California can see the real impending costs that not dealing with the coming changes to the climate will impose upon our children and us in the coming years. no one wants to continue giving billionaires their free lunch it seems! For now I'm sticking to that narrative.
Jerry Brown defeated Meg Whitman who poured 140 million dollars of her own money into a losing proposition. Even after an associate of Jerry Brown called Meg Whitman a whore which got caught on the police union stewards voicemail. Perhaps the voters agreed with that idea. At any rate, pretty nearly unprecedented massive outside campaign cash was defeated by progressive grassroots action. Democrats are alive and kicking but we absolutely must continue to work the ground game in the upcoming two years. Conservatives for billionaires will not stop and neither can we!
We unfortunately had to say goodbye to Phil Hare who took Lane Evans place in the 17th Congressional District in 2006. I had the pleasure of working with Lane Evans through Illinois Public Action Council for many years. I will sincerely miss Phil who I believe carried on the principals the made Lane a popular guy in the Quad Cities. It's hard to know what will happen with Bobby Schilling, we aren't known for our radical republicans in Illinois, they tend to be a bit more moderate. We'll see about that.
Pat Quinn beat Bill Brady by a slim margin. On thursday the AP called the race for Pat Quinn. At the time he was leading by 19,400 votes with every precinct reporting in. AP said that the outstanding ballots weren't enough to make up the difference. Bill Brady put to rest speculations that there would be a nasty post election fight over the vote count by conceding that he had lost the Governors race to Pat Quinn.
Bill Brady said; "After days of counting ballots, we came to the conclusion that Gov. Quinn won the race."
Bill Brady had been consistently leading in the polls and in fact was (troublingly) picked as the winner of that race by even my favorite pollster Nate Silver with an 87% chance of a favorable outcome for Bill Brady and Republicans. Big upset there.
This is clearly a huge win for workers in Illinois as it is widely believed among labor that one of the first acts of a Republican Governor in Illinois would be to kill the unions ability to raise and spend political money. Right, they're ok with mega corporations blowing cash in the billions into our political process but it's not ok for organized workers to collectively bargain or donate money to candidates. Seems a little one-sided if you ask me.
In a radical upset of the Iowa supreme court three "activist" judges were cut loose for their constitutionally sound ruling on the civil rights of gay people. In April 2009, Iowa's Supreme Court ruled in favor of allowing gay couples to marry which is widely regarded as a sound decision carried out by a necessarily independent judiciary. Conservatives argue that in fact the people have spoken and are sending a message to other "activist" judges for the upcoming 2012 election cycle.
The new (old) governor elect Terry Branstad (53%) was re-instated over Chet Culver (43%). Bruce Brailey hung on to his seat and Chuck Grassley of course held on to his post. Not a big change at all for Iowa it seems.
Rand Paul just says were all one big happy family now! and that there aren't really any rich, middle class or poor in America! Wow is all I can say about this guy. Clearly the most nutty of the nutty Senators.
I know there are so many but Peter DeFazio defeating Republican climate change denier Art Robinson was a real serious win for sanity in congress. The fact that Art Robinson deny's that climate change is caused by mankind is nothing compared to his belief that we should also just grind up all our nuclear waste and distribute it throughout the oceans and the land and that this would only result in a slight increase in the background radiation. He actually believes this stuff.
Another interesting development is the Governor elect of Vermont, Democrat Peter Shumlin, has pledged to shut down the states leaking nuclear reactor. In making that promise to voters he cinched his win with a full 14% of the vote being attributed to that pledge in exit polls. The town closest to the reactor, Brattleboro, has voted 2,387 to 1,826 to take the plant by eminent domain to guarantee its shut-down.
In an incredible development Minnesota has done what they've never done before. When Mark Dayton was elected the first DFL governor in 24 years, it was by a slim enough margin to trigger an automatic recount. Interestingly, Governor Pawlenty though on his way out will be staying through some of the changeover and will because of the time it will take to accomplish the recount, will actually be able to pass legislations with complete republican control of both Minnesota State Senate and the State House. This is as I said unprecedented. I'm not sure what doom this brings down upon us but it can't be good.
The Myth of the Liberal Media
While Keith Olbermann has been suspended indefinitely without pay for donating $7,200 to three democratic candidates, which is in violation of NBC's standards barring employees from making political donations. Never mind about the $2 million that GE, NBC's parent company donated during the very same election cycle. Or that in previous elections MSNBC host Joe Scarborough donated $4,200 to a republican candidate in 2006. MSNBC however said that wasn't a problem as Scarborough "hosts an opinion program and is not a news reporter." Keith Olbermann is clearly an opinion journalist as well but is obviously held to a different set of standards. Behind the scenes, MSNBC's parent corp has put $2 million into political contributions and spent $32 million on lobbying and contributed over $1 million into the the "No on 24" campaign against a California ballot initiative that would have closed tax loopholes for major corporations. So, what is really happening is MSNBC has a policy constructed to allow the owners to throw whatever money they want into any campaign but the employees can't, unless they are contributing to Republicans. Then I guess it's ok.
Olbermann Suspension Is Lunacy
Did Keith Olbermann even violate NBC policy?
ACTION: Ask NBC and MSNBC to explain their inconsistent standards regarding political donations.
MSNBC President Phil Griffin firstname.lastname@example.org
NBC News President Steve Capus email@example.com
Phone: (212) 664-4444
Nate Silver talks about the pollsters and how far off they were and in some cases were falsely favorable to republicans (bias). Rasmussen’s polls have come under the most scrutiny for being extremely biased and in Hawaii missing the call by the largest margin in fivethirtyeights database. Thanks Nate for helping us hone our polling skills.
The 105 polls released in Senate and gubernatorial races by Rasmussen Reports and its subsidiary, Pulse Opinion Research, missed the final margin between the candidates by 5.8 points, a considerably higher figure than that achieved by most other pollsters. Some 13 of its polls missed by 10 or more points, including one in the Hawaii Senate race that missed the final margin between the candidates by 40 points, the largest error ever recorded in a general election in FiveThirtyEight’s database, which includes all polls conducted since 1998.
Taken from: Nate Silver's fivethirtyeight blog Rasmussen Polls Were Biased and Inaccurate; Quinnipiac, SurveyUSA Performed Strongly
When ‘House Effects’ Become ‘Bias’
The Supreme Court
The real spoilers of the 2010 election were the supreme court justices that voted to give the corporations their voice. President Obama called this supreme court ruling a victory for Big Oil. I would argue that Justice Kennedy reversed his entire career's worth of liberal leaning decisions and will go down in history as the great destroyer of American Democracy. Justice Kennedy, though appointed by Ronald Reagan was actually the more even handed tie breaker on the court but in one single decision was able to negate all that goodness in a single horrible ruling. Justice Kennedy's affirming the concept of corporations as people has seriously taken us further down the road to fascism to be absolutely sure. He will perhaps be remembered now as the single most important person regarding the death of democracy in America.
With Patty Murray winning in Washington state Dems held on to one more seat and prevented a particularly nutty Senator, Republican Dino Rossi, who would like to reduce the minimum wage it seems,from gaining a seat in the Senate. Rossi conceded defeat late Thursday when the vote tally was 51% to 49% in favor of Murray. Overall Dems lost six seats and their ability to stop a filibuster but will maintain control of the chamber with 53 of the 100 seats. Additionally there are two independents, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut that both caucus with Democrats. There is still one race the results of which are unknown. We believe that Lisa Murkowski is going to win the first write in candidacy since Democrat Strom Thurmond won his South Carolina Senate seat as a write in in 1954. Another bright moment was the defeat of the worst of the right wing "tea party" candidates such as Ken Buck who was trying to convince people that having a program that put bicycles all over Denver was a conspiracy by the U.N. to take over America. Michael Bennet narrowly defeated Ken Buck in his Colorado Senate race.
House of Representatives
The Republicans are of course touting this as a trouncing for the Democrats but trounced we do not completely feel! Republicans took 61 seats previously held by Dems and took control of the chamber. Now they can own their obstructionism too! As I mentioned earlier, this was really i big loss for those Dems not progressive enough. The blue dogs dems are licking their wounds this week.
This was a pretty big win for the Republicans and will play out well for them in 2012 by all accounts. This is certainly going to help with Republican campaigning in the next cycle. There will be much more on this later but to sum it up, Pat Quinn and John Hickenlooper are big upsets for the GOP. They really were very close races in both states.
The Colorado Governors race is notable for several reasons the most important being his choosing Joseph Garcia as his running mate and his refusal to run a single negative ad. That I believe cinched this race up for him. It may have been close, but it was nearly a certainty. Colorado has one of the largest Hispanic populations (20.3%) in the U.S. (15.8%) according to the Census Bureau. Hispanics as a voting block are famously turned off by negative attack ads. Something the tea party will continue dashing it's hate-filled hopes upon perhaps. Again, it may not be possible for them to learn this lesson.
Pat Quinn winning in Illinois is a pretty important moment for Dems actually. If Bill Brady had been elected one of the first things he would have done would have been to defund labor in Illinois. That's practically every municipal job becoming potentially non-union positions if Illinois would ever become a "right to work" state. Currently it is a "right to collectively bargian" state and if people only knew how important that was we'd all be a lot better off. For instance, I like to ask the question of people that hate unions if they like things like weekends, and forty hour work weeks 'cause you can blame both of those things on those damned unions. Political money in 2012 will continue to come from the Unions of Illinois
The Youth Vote
It appears that in the midterms the youth vote was significantly reduced this year. 9% or so the final exit poll data from CBS showed for the 201 election. That was down sharply from 18% in 2008. No big surprise there really, all voting blocks were reduced for a variety of reasons. I know this is short and sweet but I've got some ground to cover here so onward we go!
What Our Message Must Be About Going Forward
Note: this section will be a work in progress and will be updated periodically
Jonathan Zimmerman points out in the Christian Science Monitor that we should; "Give Beck and the GOP their due: This fall, more than any time since the Progressive Era itself, they succeeded in discrediting the very concept of the federal government."
As much as right wingers want this election to be a verdict on "big government" if that were so, there would have been bigger wins for them in the house and they should have taken the Senate. Instead, Candidates like Christine O'Donnell, Paladino and Rand Paul either lost to a Democrat or nearly lost to a Democrat. However, as Werner Herzog has advised, Dems need to; "Stop brining a knife to a gun fight"
The only entity that can possibly get us out of this economic slump is the federal government. If the private sector is in the middle of a decades long wage freeze and hiring isn't happening, private citizens are unable to spend, the only thing left is the fed. FDR was a bold individual. He was able to take wall street to task over the greatest of the sins of the robber barons for the mess they had created. We need to regain that frame in this conversation.
Diversity is our Strength!
The Tea party's legacy isn't the Boston Tea Party at all, it's the same old power grab by the wealthy that has been attempted every single election cycle. We need to brand the tea party as just another soiree for the mad hatter and his rich friends the Koch Brothers. They will continue to have the same old narrative that Reagan tried selling us. As I said then, I don't know what that is trickling down their legs but I don't think it's economics. Besides, what does it mean when a bunch of grumpy old white men say things like; "they're gong to take back the civil rights movement?". What's that mean? Bottom line here? The Boston Tea Party was an act of anti-corporate activism! So the current astro-turfing called "tea party" are really reverse tea parties. Like I said before; "What David koch and his cronies have done is forced that weak, salty, nasty, improperly taxed, artificially colored, pesticide ridden, genetically modified, oil polluted, tea (that they must've fished out of the harbor) down our collective throats whether we liked it or not!"
This is regarded as the third wave election. The pendulum is swinging more quickly these days between powers that be. We need to make another wave in 2012 and we can do this. We do have to pay attention to why we lost this time though. At the risk of seeming like a socialist, I'll include the following from Phillip Locker who wrote this for socialistalternative.org and insists that this is not at all a mandate for Republican right wing policies:
Phillip Locker said;
"The 2010 elections demonstrate the complete bankruptcy of the strategy that Democratic leaders argued for over the past two years in response to any demands from the left. We were told that bold pro-worker policies such as single-payer healthcare or public works jobs programs were “unrealistic” because they would alienate moderate swing voters and Republicans. Yet what results do they have to show for their two years of "realism?""
I believe quite simply President Obama needs to stop playing to the "middle" and start remembering his base. We need him to channel FDR now.
So there is a huge amount of work ahead but it will not be impossible to turn this thing around in 2012. We're already seeing polls that show Obama fairing better than any Republican candidate they could currently field.
We will win in 2012!